9th November     No Comments

Author Amy Scobee recounts abuse as Scientology executive

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Author Amy Scobee recounts abuse as Scientology executive

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wikinews interviewed author Amy Scobee about her book Scientology – Abuse at the Top, and asked her about her experiences working as an executive within the organization. Scobee joined the organization at age 14, and worked at Scientology’s international management headquarters for several years before leaving in 2005. She served as a Scientology executive in multiple high-ranking positions, working out of the international headquarters of Scientology known as “Gold Base”, located in Gilman Hot Springs near Hemet, California.

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30th October     No Comments

NFL star Michael Vick indicted for running dog fighting operation

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NFL star Michael Vick indicted for running dog fighting operation

Friday, July 20, 2007

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick and three other men were indicted on Tuesday by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy related to a dog fighting operation. The charges included buying, breeding and training pit bull dogs, transporting the dogs across state lines to illegally participate in fights, and gambling on the fights.

The indictments stemmed from a search of Vick’s Smithfield, Virginia home in April, in which 54 pit bulls were removed, along with equipment used in dog fighting.

The indictment said that Vick had bought the property in Smithfield for US$34,000 to run the dog fighting under the name “Bad Newz Kennels” with two other people named in the indictment. Purnell Peace, Quanis Phillips, and Tony Taylor were all named in the indictment along with Vick.

The indictment stated that Vick took part in the killing of eight dogs that didn’t pass test fights, called “rolling”. The pit bulls were allegedly killed by hanging, drowning and slamming at least one dog onto the ground.

If convicted of both portions of the conspiracy charge, Vick could face six years in prison and a $350,000 fine. His property, located in Surry County, would be subject to forfeiture under U.S. laws dealing with illegal activities that are carried out at an interstate level. The indictment alleges that the dog fighting operation, involving American Pit Bull Terriers, spilled over into Alabama, North Carolina and New York.

Vick has a court date on July 26 for a bond hearing and to hear the charges. Vick has said that he had a kennel operation on the property, but had no involvement or knowledge of a dog fighting ring.

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30th October     No Comments

Space station crew perform successful spacewalk

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Space station crew perform successful spacewalk

Monday, March 28, 2005

Commander Leroy Chiao (U.S.A.) and Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov (Russia), suited in Russian Orlan spacesuits, left the International Space Station on a 4.5 hour long spacewalk to install antennas for the European Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), inspect and photograph other exterior equipment and launched the Nanosatellite mini-satellite. This is the last scheduled walk for the Expedition 10 crew.

At 06:25 UTC, the two astronauts left the station from the Pirs DC1 docking compartment/airlock and proceeded to install the last three of six space-to-space communication antennas for the ATV’s rendezvous and docking with the ISS next year.

Sharipov next deployed the foot long, 11 pound Russian Nanosatellite, tossing it into space by hand. The object of the experiment is to develop small satellite control techniques, monitor satellite operations and develop new attitude system sensors. Russian ground crews reported good signal reception from the satellite two hours after its release.

The two astronauts next proceeded to the aft end of the Zvezda service module. A Global Positioning System (GPS) antenna and necessary cabling for the ATV was installed and the men worked their way back to the airlock.

The station maintained its attitude, despite the loss of a gyroscope earlier in the space station mission, until the end of the spacewalk. Chiao and Sharipov reported being a safe distance from the attitude adjustment thrusters. Russian ground control activated the jets and normal attitude ofthe station was regained.

They returned to the airlock at 1055 UTC, completing the mission an hour earlier than scheduled.

Chiao and Sharipov arrived on the station October 16, 2004. They are scheduled to return to Earth on April 25, 2005. This marks Sharipov’s second walk in space and Chiao’s sixth.

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30th October     No Comments

Lobby groups oppose plans for EU copyright extension

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Lobby groups oppose plans for EU copyright extension

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The European Commission currently has proposals on the table to extend performers’ copyright terms. Described by Professor Martin Kretschmer as the “Beatles Extension Act”, the proposed measure would extend copyright from 50 to 95 years after recording. A vast number of classical tracks are at stake; the copyright on recordings from the fifties and early sixties is nearing its expiration date, after which it would normally enter the public domain or become ‘public property’. E.U. Commissioner for the Internal Market and Services Charlie McCreevy is proposing this extension, and if the other relevant Directorate Generales (Information Society, Consumers, Culture, Trade, Competition, etc.) agree with the proposal, it will be sent to the European Parliament.

Wikinews contacted Erik Josefsson, European Affairs Coordinator for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (E.F.F.), who invited us to Brussels, the heart of E.U. policy making, to discuss this new proposal and its implications. Expecting an office interview, we arrived to discover that the event was a party and meetup conveniently coinciding with FOSDEM 2008 (the Free and Open source Software Developers’ European Meeting). The meetup was in a sprawling city centre apartment festooned with E.F.F. flags and looked to be a party that would go on into the early hours of the morning with copious food and drink on tap. As more people showed up for the event it turned out that it was a truly international crowd, with guests from all over Europe.

Eddan Katz, the new International Affairs Director of the E.F.F., had come over from the U.S. to connect to the European E.F.F. network, and he gladly took part in our interview. Eddan Katz explained that the Electronic Frontier Foundation is “A non-profit organisation working to protect civil liberties and freedoms online. The E.F.F. has fought for information privacy rights online, in relation to both the government and companies who, with insufficient transparency, collect, aggregate and make abuse of information about individuals.” Another major focus of their advocacy is intellectual property, said Eddan: “The E.F.F. represents what would be the public interest, those parts of society that don’t have a concentration of power, that the private interests do have in terms of lobbying.”

Becky Hogge, Executive Director of the U.K.’s Open Rights Group (O.R.G.), joined our discussion as well. “The goals of the Open Rights Group are very simple: we speak up whenever we see civil, consumer or human rights being affected by the poor implementation or the poor regulation of new technologies,” Becky summarised. “In that sense, people call us -I mean the E.F.F. has been around, in internet years, since the beginning of time- but the Open Rights Group is often called the British E.F.F.

Contents

  • 1 The interview
    • 1.1 Cliff Richard’s pension
    • 1.2 Perpetual patents?
    • 1.3 The fight moves from the U.K. to Europe
    • 1.4 Reclaiming democratic processes in the E.U.
  • 2 Related news
  • 3 Sources
  • 4 External links

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30th October     No Comments

The Many Advantages Of Family Dentistry In Melbourne

byAlma Abell

If you have a family, you’re going to have to deal with dental issues from time to time. That’s why may families employ the services of a practice that offers Family Dentistry in Melbourne. In fact, there are many benefits to using a family dentist practice as opposed to a dental practice that only treats adults or a dedicated pediatric dentist. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

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From a convenience standpoint, a family dental practice makes a lot of sense. Fitting in a visit to the dentist can be challenging enough with the demands of a busy life. However, if you have to figure out how to get to your dental appointments, then having to do it all over again the same day or a different day for your kids at another dental practice, your life can become even more hectic. With a family dentist practice, you won’t have to worry about further juggling of your schedule so much. Whether the patient is 7 years old or 70, a family practice can meet everyone’s dental needs.

Secondly, you’ll have a dentist for life. These dentist can follow your dental health all throughout your life. These dentist will know all there is to know about your dental health. You won’t have to worry about filling in a new dentist on your past dental history. This makes getting the right care when it comes to your dental needs a lot easier. If quick action is required, having a dental practice that knows your dental history will make it easier to get the dental care that you may require.

Lastly, these sorts of dental practices offer you a personal relationship you can’t get from other specialized dental practices. There’s a good chance these practices will know you and your children for many years to come. This can lead to having a relationship that can put you and your family at ease regardless of the dental situations that may arise over the years.

As you can see, there are many advantages of taking your entire family to a practice that offers Family Dentistry in Melbourne. If you are currently considering these services, you’ll likely be very happy with the many benefits provided to you and your family at a family dental practice.

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28th October     No Comments

British painter Lucian Freud dies aged 88

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British painter Lucian Freud dies aged 88

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lucian Freud, the painter and grandson of the founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud, died Wednesday at his London home following a short illness. He was 88 years old.

Freud, the elder brother of the late comedic writer and broadcaster Clement Freud, was born in Berlin in 1922 and moved with his family to Britain in 1933 to escape the Nazis. He became a British citizen in 1939. He studied at the Central School of Art, then at the East Anglian School of Painting and Drawing with Cedric Morris. He also attended Goldsmiths, University of London. After finishing art school, he spent some time in the merchant navy. In 1944, he started exhibiting with a solo showcase at the Alex Reid & Lefevre Gallery.

I paint people not because of what they are like, not exactly in spite of what they are like, but how they happen to be.

In the 1950s, his style changed to exclusively paint portraits and nudes. The process of painting for models was intense: one nude painting took 16 months to complete and Freud demanded her turn up almost every day to pose. His work was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1989, and he was a member of the Order of Merit. Most controversially, he painted a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II which was described by The Sun newspaper as a “travesty”, and prompted Robin Simon, the editor of the British Art Journal to say that “It makes her look like one of the royal corgis who has suffered a stroke”. He also famously painted the glamour model Kate Moss nude, and was once named one of Britain’s best dressed men in the magazine GQ.

His work has sold for large amounts: Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, sold in 2008 at Christie’s in New York for $33.6 million dollars. In addition, he has had solo shows at some of the most prominent art galleries and museums in the world including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Nicholas Serota, the director of the Tate in London, said of Freud: “The vitality of his nudes, the intensity of the still life paintings and the presence of his portraits of family and friends guarantee Lucian Freud a unique place in the pantheon of late twentieth century art. His early paintings redefined British art and his later works stand comparison with the great figurative painters of any period.”

Freud has at least thirteen children from a series of marriages and affairs: after an affair wth the Bloomsbury Group member Lorna Garman, Freud married her niece Kitty in 1948 and had two children (Annie and Annabel) before ending the marriage four years later. He had an affair with Lady Caroline Blackwood which turned into a marriage in 1953, although that was dissolved in 1957. He also had two children with Bernadine Coverly (Bella Freud, the fashion designer, and the writer Esther Freud), five children with Suzy Boyt, and four children with Katherine Margaret McAdam (Paul Freud, an artist, Lucy Freud, David Freud and Jane McAdam Freud, also an artist).

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18th October     No Comments

China’s consumer prices rise to a three-year high in June as food prices soar 14.4 percent

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China’s consumer prices rise to a three-year high in June as food prices soar 14.4 percent

Monday, July 11, 2011

China’s National Bureau of Statistics released data Saturday showing that the consumer price index (CPI) for June climbed 6.4% from a year ago. That compares with a 5.5% rise in May, which was the largest since a 6.3% increase in July 2008. The major factor contributing to this figure was the steep rise in food prices which climbed 14.4%. Pork is a major food staple in China, and its price rose 65% from last year.

Analysts predicted that China’s inflation would peak in June, but particularly worrisome was the steep rise in the cost of food from the same time last year and up from 11.7% in May, indicating that Beijing may have difficulty in controlling inflation.

We must treat stabilising overall price levels as the top priority … and keep the direction of macro-economic adjustments unchanged.

China is the world’s second largest economy, having grown robustly in the last two years driven by a 2009 governmental stimulus package of $586 billion and low interest rates offered by state-owned banks. These were directed at promoting investments in real estate construction and government infrastructure projects, enabling China to lead the global recovery after the collapse of the U.S. mortgage market led to a worldwide recession.

Now Beijing is attempting to slow its fast pace of growth, fearful of inflation, by restricting bank lending and raising interest rates. High inflation along with high property values could hurt the economy. Since October, China’s Central Bank has raised interest rates five times.

Many factors are contributing to China’s inflation, including higher wages for migrant workers, increases in the prices of food and gasoline, as well as diminished output from crucial agricultural areas cause by droughts and flooding this spring.

Today, China’s Premier Wen Jiabao indicated that the war on inflation was continuing and controlling inflation was a top priority for the government, increasing expectations that interest rates would be further increased.

If they signal any comfort with inflation, and inflation is as high as it is now, they could create an environment in which people would panic, and they can have a real problem on their hands.

“We must treat stabilising overall price levels as the top priority of our macro-economic controls and keep the direction of macro-economic adjustments unchanged,” Wen said today in comments reported on the central government’s website. He had said in March that the ruling Communist Party is worried that a continuing rise in food prices could result in public protests.

Wen said the government would boost the supply of hogs to keep the price of pork stable, the price of pork being the major contributor to China’s food inflation index and the most closely watched item on it.

“If they signal any comfort with inflation, and inflation is as high as it is now, they could create an environment in which people would panic, and they can have a real problem on their hands,” said Tim Condon, Asian researcher at ING.

As markets worried about the news of Chinese inflation as well as concerns about the European debt crisis, oil dropped below US$95 a barrel today.

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10th October     No Comments

UK denies pressuring Scotland into Lockerbie release

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UK denies pressuring Scotland into Lockerbie release

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Since the August 20 release of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, who was convicted of planting a bomb on Pan Am Flight 103, there has been growing controversy surrounding the events which led to his release. Pan Am Flight 103 exploded in-flight in 1988 as the aircraft flew over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 people on board and eleven more on the ground. Al Megrahi is the only person to have been convicted of the bombing.

In recent years, the British government has negotiated oil development deals with Libya. As part of the negotiations, at least three UK ministers traveled to Libya in the months leading up to Al Megrahi’s release.

Leaked letters from UK Justice Secretary Jack Straw to his Scottish counterpart, Kenny MacAskill, stated that it was in the “overwhelming national interests” of the UK to include Al Megrahi in prisoner transfer agreements which were part of the oil trade deals. These letters have lead to widespread speculation that the British government influenced the Scottish decision to release Al Megrahi.

Al Megrahi was released on compassionate grounds as he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. However, this diagnosis was called into question as The Times revealed that the health director of the Scottish Prison Service, Dr. Andrew Fraser, relied on the advice of a general practitioner instead of an oncologist, when issuing his recommendation for release.

When Al Megrahi returned to Libyan soil, Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi thanked Gordon Brown and Queen Elizabeth for his release.

Saif al-Islam Muammar al-Gaddafi, the son of Muammar al-Gaddafi, has stated that during the prisoner transfer agreement (PTA) phase the trade negotiations, the Al Megrahi case was not specifically named, yet it was implied.

“The fight to get the [prisoner transfer] agreement lasted a long time and was very political, but I want to make clear that we didn’t mention Mr Megrahi. At all times we talked about the PTA. It was obvious we were talking about him. We all knew that was what we were talking about,” he said.

In Scotland, the release of Al Megrahi has caused significant debate. A poll conducted for the BBC by ICM Research found that 60% of Scots thought the Scottish Government was wrong to allow the release. 68% believe the decision was made fore reasons that did not pertain to Al Megrahi’s health.

“No one I think seriously believes we made any other decision except for the right reasons,” First Minister Alex Salmond said on Wednesday. “I think it was the right decision. I also absolutely know it was for the right reasons.”

“We didn’t think that the Lockerbie decision should be linked to trade or oil decisions by anyone who looked at the coincidence that the prisoner transfer agreement was being negotiated at the same time as commercial contracts,” Salmon also stated.

The UK Prime Minister’s office stated Monday that, “There was no deal over [the] release of al-Megrahi nor could there ever be, since all decisions were for the Scottish, not U.K. government.”

“The central assertion in this story is completely untrue and deeply misleading,” Downing Street added.

Correspondence released on Tuesday by the UK government shows that Abdulati Alobidi, the Libyan minister to Europe warned of “catastrophic effects for the relationship between Libya and the UK,” if Al Megrahi were to die in prison in Scotland.

When Salmond asked Straw what the national interests of the UK were, Jack Straw replied, “Having sponsored terrorist attacks in the past, it [Libya] is now an important partner in the fight against terrorism.” Libya approved a large oil exploration contract to BP within days of the letter.

Libyan officials have said that since al-Megrahi’s return to Libya, his health has deteriorated. He was not part of the 40th anniversary celebrations for Gaddafi’s coup d’état held on Tuesday.

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10th October     No Comments

Australian Labor Party leader urges supporters to “take a cold shower” over poll results

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Australian Labor Party leader urges supporters to “take a cold shower” over poll results

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The newly appointed leader of the Australian Labor Party, the main opposition party in Australia, Kevin Rudd has urged his supporters to “take a cold shower” after the release of a Newspoll showing a jump in support for the ALP.

The poll showed that the ALP’s two-party preferred vote has risen to 55 percent compared to the incumbent government’s 45 percent. Mr Rudd is also gaining support as potential Prime Minister with his figures in a “preferred prime minister” poll published by The Australian being only 3 points behind John Howard at 36 percent. In the prior Newspoll, Mr Rudd’s predecessor Kim Beazley had only 25 percent support.

Speaking during his “listening” tour in the Queensland city of Townsville, Mr Rudd said that the poll indicated a protest vote against the Howard government and was not an endorsement for him or the ALP.

“I think what you’re seeing in these polls today is really a protest vote against Mr Howard about becoming more and more out of touch,” Mr Rudd said. “I don’t think at this stage the process represents an entrenched vote for me, or for the Labor Party.”.

Mr Rudd conceded that he would need to “work hard over the next nine months to earn the electorate’s respect”. The next election is expected to be held in late-2007 and will be called by the Governor-General at the request of the Prime Minister.

Mr Howard said he expected for the ALP to lead polls for months as the new leader goes through a “honeymoon period”. Speaking on Southern Cross Radio, Mr Howard said “I knew that Labor would get a bounce in the polls. That was going to happen and it doesn’t surprise me in the least bit. When you have a new leader, the new leader has a honeymoon. I would expect Labor to be comfortably ahead in the polls for several months and it won’t be until well into next year that we’ll get a better fix on how the Government and the Opposition are going.”

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10th October     No Comments

Judge orders residents and city to come to agreement on partially collapsed building in Buffalo, New York

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Judge orders residents and city to come to agreement on partially collapsed building in Buffalo, New York

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Buffalo, New York —Judge Justice Christopher Burns of the New York State Supreme Court has ordered a halt to an emergency demolition on a 19th century stable and livery on 428-430 Jersey Street in Buffalo, New York that partially collapsed on Wednesday June 11, initially causing at least 15 homes to be evacuated. At least two homes remain evacuated.

Burns orders that both the city and the group Save The Livery (www.savethelivery.com) have to come to an agreement on what to do with the building, and try to work out ways of saving at least some portions if it including the facade, side walls and a lift tower. Save The Livery is comprised of concerned area residents who have grown to love the building’s historic and unique character. On June 14, they won a temporary restraining order to stop demolition. The court ruled that the city was only allowed to remove material in immediate danger to residents and pedestrians, but stated that the demolition could only be performed with “hand tools.” The court also ordered that any rubble which had fallen into neighboring yards when the building collapsed, to be removed.

“It is in the interest of the city to have a safe environment–but also important to maintain a sense of historical preservation,” stated Burns in his ruling. Burns has given the sides until tomorrow (Friday June 20) to come to an agreement and has ordered both parties to return to court at 9:30 a.m. (eastern time) “sharp.” Activists of Save The Livery urge supporters of the stable to “fill the courtroom” to show “continued and ongoing support.” The hearing is scheduled to take place at 25 Delaware Avenue in the Supreme Court building, 3rd Floor, trial part 19.

Currently the building is owned by Bob Freudenheim who has several building violations against him because of the buildings poor condition. He has received at least five violations in three months and residents who live near the building state that Freudenheim should be “100% responsible” for his actions. Many are afraid that if the building is demolished, Freudenheim’s charges of neglect will be abolished.

On June 17, developer and CEO of Savarino Companies, Sam Savarino was at the site of the stable, discussing the building with residents and preservationists. In 2006, Savarino proposed and planned The Elmwood Village Hotel, a ‘botique’ hotel on the Southeast corner of Elmwood and Forest Avenues. The project was later withdrawn after residents filed a lawsuit against Savarino and the city. Wikinews extensively covered the story, and contacted Savarino for his professional opinion on the building.

“[I would] love to see it preserved. I was there to see if there was anything we could do to help, to see if anything can be salvaged. I just want to see the right thing happen, and so does the city,” stated Savarino to Wikinews who added that he was allowed inside the building for a brief period.

“The side walls are beyond repair. The roof has rotted and it could come down at any time,” added Savarino who also said that the building “below the second floor appears to be stable.” He also states that the back wall of the building, which borders several homes, appears to be intact.

“Eliminating the back wall could be a problem for the neighbors. It is not unreasonable to leave at least 12 feet” of the back wall standing, added Savarino.

Savarino did not say if he was interested in buying the property, but did state, “I am sure there are a couple of people interested” in buying the property. On Thursday, Buffalo News reported that a “businessman” might be interested in purchasing the property, though Wikinews is not able to independently confirm the report. Savarino says that with the property still slated for emergency demolition, a potential buyer could face tax fees of nearly US$300,000.

Freudenheim gave the city permission to demolish the building on Thursday June 12 during an emergency Preservation Board meeting, because he would not be “rehabilitating the building anytime soon.” Freudenheim, along with his wife Nina, were part-owners of the Hotel Lenox at 140 North Street in Buffalo and were advocates to stop the Elmwood Village Hotel. They also financially supported a lawsuit in an attempt to stop the hotel from being built. Though it is not known exactly how long Freudenheim has owned the stable, Wikinews has learned that he was the owner while fighting to stop the hotel from being built. Residents say that he has been the owner for at least 22 years.

The building was first owned by a company called White Bros. and was used as a stable for a farm which once covered the land around the building for several blocks. The Buffalo Fire Department believes the building was built around 1814, while the city property database states it was built in 1870. Servants and workers of the farm were housed inside resident quarters situated at the rear of the building on what is now Summer Street, but are now cottages where area residents currently reside. Some date as far back as 1829.

At about 1950, the stable was converted into an automobile body shop and gasoline station.A property record search showed that in 1950 at least four fuel storage tanks were installed on the property. Two are listed as 550 square feet while the other two are 2,000 square feet. All of the tanks are designated as a TK4, which New York State says is used for “below ground horizontal bulk fuel storage.” The cost of installing a tank of that nature according to the state, at that time, included the tank itself, “excavation and backfill,” but did not include “the piping, ballast, or hold-down slab orring.” It is not known if the tanks are still on the property, but residents are concerned the city was not taking the precautions to find out.

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